Alternatives to Turkey

Turkey isn't for everyone, take a look at some of our super alternatives for your Christmas dinner, from goose to vegetarian options. 

Roast goose sat in front of an AGA in Dark Blue
Goose

A 4.5-5.5kg (10-12 lb) goose will feed 8-10 people comfortably and is a popular choice. It is essential to cook a goose on a grill rack in a roasting tin. Do not prick the skin all over but do prick the heavy folds of fat just behind the wings by the back legs.

Whole Goose

A whole stuffed goose 4.5kg (10 lb) will take approximately 3 hours total cooking time, a 5.4kg (12 lb) goose 31/2 hours. 

1. Protect the legs and wings with fat bacon and foil, and tent the whole bird with foil, leaving a slit in the top by the breastbone during cooking.

2. Roast in an AGA roasting tin on the lowest set of runners in the roasting oven for 1 hour.

3. Drain the fat that has filled the tin, turn the bird upside down and roast for a further hour. 

4. Drain the fat and turn back the right side up to brown, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

5. Re-cover with foil and continue roasting until cooked.

All cooking times are approximate.


Boned & Rolled Goose Roasts

For roasts such as ‘goose banquet rolls’, ‘birds within a bird’ (a pheasant in a chicken in a goose, etc.) and turkey or duck breasts rolled in a boned goose, fast roast these only – using the turkey fast method timings as a guide. Because boned and rolled roasts are so dense it is essential to ensure that they are thoroughly cooked right to the centre. The use of a meat thermometer is strongly recommended. The slow method is not suitable for these roasts and should not be used.

Mushroom and Pesto Filo Cups
Mushroom and Pesto Filo Cups

These would make a delightful main course for those who do not eat meat. The filo pastry takes up the pesto flavour which complements the mushroom filling.  

Makes 3 x 9cm (3½ inch) ‘cups’                                  
Use 3 x 9cm (3½ inch) diameter ring moulds, 3½cm (1¼ inch) high

Ingredients:
2 tsp rapeseed oil
2 tsp pesto
3 sheets of filo pastry, each measuring 30cm x 30cm (12 inch x 12 inch)

Filling:
280g (10 oz) mix of exotic mushrooms, such as enoki, oyster, Portobello
50g (1¾ oz) butter
1 clove of garlic, grated
150ml double cream
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
Garnish: Fresh parsley

Method:

1. Brush the ring moulds with a little of the oil and place them onto a baking sheet or the AGA cold plain shelf, lined with Bake-O-Glide, then mix the remaining oil and pesto together.  

2. Brush a sheet of filo pastry with the oil and pesto mix (keep the rest of the filo pastry under a clean, damp cloth so it does not dry out).  

3. Cut this piece of filo into 4 squares and pile the squares on top of each other, slightly offset each one which will give a more interesting appearance, then ease into the ring mould and repeat the process with the remaining two sheets of pastry.

4. Place the baking sheet or cold plain shelf onto the oven grid shelf set on the floor of the baking oven.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes until golden and crisp. If you have a 2-oven AGA R5 Series, place the baking sheet on the oven grid shelf set on the floor of the roasting oven with the cold plain shelf slid on the second runners down to protect the pastry cups, whilst cooking. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden and crisp.

5. Meanwhile make up the filling. Cut the mushrooms into slices and sauté in the butter for 3 minutes, then grate in the garlic and cook for a further minute. Pour in the double cream and bring to the boil, season and simmer for about 2 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Keep the mushroom mixture warm – simmering or warming oven.

6. Take the cooked pastry cups from the oven and remove them from the rings. Arrange on a warm serving plate. Stir the chopped parsley into the mushrooms and pile into the pastry cups. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Roast beef in the Portmeirion Roasting Tin
Roast Rib of Beef

Roast beef is also a popular choice for Christmas dinner. This recipe serves up to 8. 

Ingredients: 

5 lb (2.25Kg) rib roast of beef (on the bone)
1 onion, skinned and halved
2 carrots, peeled and halved
1 tbsp English mustard powder
3-4 tbsp flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pints (1.2l) beef stock made from extra browned bones
4 tbsp redcurrant jelly

Tip - Have your butcher chine the meat to make it easier to carve. Ask for the bones with some extra to make a simple brown stock for the gravy. 

Method:

1. Take the joint out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature two hours before roasting. Place bone side down in an AGA roasting tin lined with Bake-O-Glide and add the onion and carrots. Rub the mustard powder into the fat on the top of the meat and season well with black pepper. Hang the tin on the lowest set of runners in the AGA roasting oven** Allow 15 minutes per lb (450g) plus 15 minutes for rare, 20 minutes plus 20 minutes for medium, and up to 25 minutes plus 25 minutes for well done. We strongly recommend the use of a meat thermometer: the meat needs to reach an internal temperature of 60°C/140°F for rare, 70°C/150°F for medium pink, and 75°C/160°F for well done.

2. When the meat is perfectly cooked to your liking, transfer to a clean roasting tin or warmed platter to keep hot and rest – the warming plate or next to the AGA is ideal. Cover with foil and a clean towel to ensure it keeps piping hot. Roast vegetables can now be finished off, to floor of the oven** is best for potato and parsnip browning.

3. To make gravy in the roasting tin, drain off surplus fat and add flour to make a roux with an equal quantity of the fat. Do this on the simmering plate. Gradually whisk in hot stock to your desired consistency, then simmer for 5 minutes then discard the onion and carrots. Season to taste and add the redcurrant jelly.

*eR7: place on third set of runners in roasting oven on R8. AGA 60 and eR3 series place on third set of runners in top oven on baking setting

** For AGA Total Control, AGA 60, eR3 series and eR7 place on floor grid on floor

Mushroom, Chestnut and Artichoke Ragout
Mushroom, Chestnut and Artichoke Ragout

A delicious and rich vegetarian recipe created by AGA Demonstrator Penny Zako.

Ingredients:

50g dried porcini mushrooms – soaked and drained (reserve 150ml of the soaking liquid)
300g mixed fresh mushrooms – sliced and kept whole
1 jar grilled artichoke hearts
100g cooked chestnuts – chopped roughly
1 onion – diced
1 tbsp. chopped thyme
1 garlic clove - chopped
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. flour
4 tbsp. white wine
300ml vegetable stock
150ml milk
150ml double cream

Method:

 1. Heat the oil large sauté pan and fry the onion, garlic, mushrooms and the thyme. Once the onions start to colour move to the simmering plate and add the flour cook for a minute; then gradually add the wine, reserved soaking liquid and then the stock.

2. Stir in the cream and milk and cook until thick and velvety now add the chestnuts and artichoke hearts.

3. Heat through and serve with a steamed rice.

roast turkey or chicken
Alternative Turkey Roasts

If you're planning to cook any of the following, please see our guidance below.

•    Saddle of Turkey - (Two breasts of fillet meat, boned with wings inserted)
•    Butterfly Breast Turkey - (Two breasts of fillet meat)
•    Boned and Rolled Turkey - (White and dark meat)
•    Ballottine of Turkey - (Boned turkey with loin of pork and stuffing)
•    Turkey Stuffed - (with a Ham or Pheasant Breasts)
•    Boned Turkey - (Stuffed with Ox Tongue and Forcemeat)
•    Cockatrice - (Several birds of varying sizes, one inside each other)
•    Turducken - (A chicken inside a duck inside a turkey with sausagemeat stuffing)
•    Ten Bird Roast (The ultimate ‘Russian Doll’ assembly)

Unless expressly instructed otherwise in a specific AGA recipe, these are all best roasted in the AGA roasting or baking ovens by the fast or medium methods. Have the roasting tin on the lowest set of runners. Because they are so dense it is essential to ensure that they are thoroughly cooked right to the centre. The use of a meat thermometer is strongly recommended. The slow method is not suitable for these roasts and should not be used.